Toni Tennille makes her classical singing debut with featured solo

The Yavapai College Master Chorale is set to perform works by Vivaldi at its concert Sunday, March 24, at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. (Lorrie Vodika/Courtesy)

The Yavapai College Master Chorale is set to perform works by Vivaldi at its concert Sunday, March 24, at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. (Lorrie Vodika/Courtesy)

Yavapai College’s Master Chorale and professional orchestra are presenting two Vivaldi pieces this weekend with Toni Tennille performing as a featured soloist.

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Tenille

To be performed are the first setting of “Gloria” and the first version of the “Dixit Dominus,” said conductor Darrell Rowader. Though the former is a piece everyone knows and has heard before, the latter is a rare piece that most people coming to the performance won’t ever hear live again, Rowader said.

“It’s cumbersome, it’s a lot of trouble to find the parts,” he said, mentioning that when he conducted the piece at a Vivaldi festival years ago, there were no orchestra parts written for the “Dixit Dominus” as they were out of print and he had a scribe rewrite the conductors score for orchestra parts and print them out. “I believe they are the only parts that you can find for the orchestra.”

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This 1723 portrait by Morellon de la Cave is believed to picture Antonio Vivaldi -- the Venetian priest, violinist and composer who lived from 1678-1741.

If it wasn’t for taking part in that festival, the college wouldn’t have had the funds to print out the orchestra parts, Rowader said.

The version to be perfomed at the concert is written for two choruses, two orchestras and a group of soloists, he said. As such, what he does is split the Master Chorale into two separate choirs, Rowader said.

“Now I have two choirs that are singing sometimes together and a lot of times at different times both antiphonally, which means one first then the other, or they’re singing simply eight parts at the same time,” he said. “The orchestra plays the same way, so I’ve got an orchestra one and an orchestra two.”

The concert starts at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 25 at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St. Tickets are $15, $10 for Yavapai College faculty and students and free for youth under 18.

“Dixit Dominus” with the double choir is rarely performed at all, Rowader said. Also, this performance of of “Gloria” is going to be special as well because most times it’s done with a chorus and a piano or an organ and this performance has the orchestra, he said.

It’s encouraging to work at a college where the dean and performing arts director are completely behind these works, Rowader said.

“It becomes an expense that most universities and colleges don’t find necessary,” he said. “It’s nice to give it a performance that the only other way you could hear it would be to do down to the Phoenix Symphony, that would be if they happen to program these works.”

The performance’s organist, Simon Pick, has his own solo between the two pieces as well, Rowader said. It would be a waste of his talent to bring him up just for the “Gloria” and “Dixit Dominus” so he gave him a solo movement called “Praeludium in D Minor” by Dietrich Buxtehude, an earlier contemporary of Vivaldi, he said.

The chorus also includes Toni Tennille, who was one half of the pop duo Captain & Tennille, as a soloist, Rowader said.

“She moved to the area about six or seven years ago, moved out temporarily for about three years to Florida, has moved back and she has been in our chorale the whole time,” he said. “She has a featured solo in this upcoming concert in the ‘Gloria’ and it marks her debut as a classical singer to sing in this concert.”

By Jason Wheeler, reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037. Follow him on Twitter @PrescottWheels